Monday, April 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 135



Center will help disabled students

By Jennifer Vickers
Daily Cougar Staff

As workers begin construction on a new building to service students with special needs, Cheryl Amoruso, Director of the Center for Students
with DisABILITIES, says she is hopeful the building's amenities will increase the quality of education for UH's disabled students.

The University officially broke ground on the new center Tuesday.

Stephen Edinger/The Daily Cougar 

Ground broke Tuesday on the new Center for Students with DisABILITIES. The $1.2 million center is set to be completed by September.

The building, which is scheduled for completion in September, will include testing rooms, a conference room and technology centers, Amoruso
said. More importantly, she said, the building will be completely accessible with electronic doors, special flooring for wheelchairs, hands-free
sinks and toilets and other modifications.

"I asked a blind student what kind of paint he preferred and he told me he wanted smooth paint," Amoruso said. She said students told her
rough paint cut the knuckles of visually impaired students when they felt the walls to gauge their location.

The CSD is now housed on the third floor of the Student Services Building. The new building, to be located adjacent to the Health Center and
Taub Hall, will be double the former center's size, at nearly 6,000 sq. feet, and will eliminate many safety concerns, Amoruso said.

"It would be hard to get students in wheelchairs out of the existing office if there were a fire," Amoruso said.

The $1.2 million building was designed after Amoruso evaluated student services offices at other universities and with recommendations by a
committee of staff, students and faculty, she said.

The new CSD technology center will feature accessible computer terminals and specialized voice- activated systems that do not work in other
computer labs because of ambient noise, Amoruso said.

"It's convenient to have it here so students can come in and use it when they take tests," she said. "We're working on raising funds to buy some
more equipment."

The new building will not negatively effect campus residents' parking near the center, Amoruso said. Parking near the new building that's
reserved for health center staff will be converted to handicapped parking, she said.

Additionally, the basketball courts across from the new CSD will be converted to a parking lot for staff and visitors. There is a possibility that one
of the tennis courts, also located across from the new building, will become a basketball court.

"The new building will enhance our ability to help students with physical and learning disabilities," said Elwyn C. Lee, vice president for student
affairs. The building will benefit the UH community at large by allowing for increased diversity, he said.

The University is a leader in service to students with disabilities, Amoruso said.

"When I surveyed the other universities in Texas, none of their offices were specifically designed for students with disabilities," Amoruso said.
Instead, offices that provide services to disabled students are placed in existing office structures, she said.

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